A crosier is a stylized staff carried by high-ranking Roman Catholic, Eastern Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and some Lutheran, United Methodist and Pentecostal prelates. Other typical insignia of many of these prelates are the mitre, the pectoral cross, the episcopal ring. A crosier staff is a part of the tradition of Jewish Christianity; the origin of the crozier as a staff of authority is uncertain, but there were many secular and religious precedents in the ancient world. One example is the lituus, the traditional staff of the ancient Roman augurs, as well as the staff of Moses in the Hebrew Bible. Many other types of the staff of office were found in periods, some continuing to the modern day in ceremonial contexts. In the Western Church the usual form has been a shepherd's crook, curved at the top to enable animals to be hooked; this relates to the many metaphorical references to bishops as the shepherds of their "flock" of Christians, following the metaphor of Christ as the Good Shepherd.
The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic crosier is found in two common forms. One is tau-shaped, with curved arms, surmounted by a small cross; the other has a top comprising a pair of sculptured serpents or dragons curled back to face each other, with a small cross between them. The symbolism in the latter case is of the bronze serpent made by Moses as related in Numbers 21:8-9, it is reminiscent of the caduceus of Hermes or the rod of the ancient Greek god Asclepius, whose worship was centered around the Aegean, including Asia Minor, indicating the role of the bishop as healer of spiritual diseases. The staff of Moses is first mentioned in the Book of Exodus, when God appears to Moses in the burning bush. God asks what Moses has in his hand, Moses answers "a staff"; the staff is miraculously transformed into a snake and back into a staff. The staff is thereafter referred to as the "rod of God" or "staff of God". "And thou shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs."
And Moses went and returned to Jethro, his father in law, said unto him, "Let me go, I pray thee, return unto my brethren which are in Egypt and see whether they be yet alive." And Jethro said to Moses, "Go in peace." The LORD said unto Moses in Midian, "Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life." And Moses set them upon an ass. Moses and Aaron appear before the pharaoh; the pharaoh's sorcerers are able to transform their own rods into serpents, but Aaron's swallows them. Aaron's rod is again used to turn the Nile blood-red, it is used several times on God's command to initiate the plagues of Egypt. During the Exodus, Moses stretches out his hand with the staff to part the Red Sea. While in the "wilderness" after leaving Egypt, Moses does not follow God's command to " speak ye unto the rock before their eyes" instead he strikes the rock with the rod to create a spring for the Israelites from which to drink; because Moses did not sanctify God before them but said "Hear now, ye rebels.
Thus, Moses not God. For not doing what God commanded, God punished Moses by not letting him enter into the Promised Land. Moses uses the staff in the battle at Rephidim between the Israelites and the Amalekites; when he holds up the "rod of God", the Israelites "prevail". When he drops it, their enemies gain the upper hand. Aaron and Hur help him to keep the staff raised; the crosier is the symbol of the governing office of Apostle. In Western Christianity, the crosier is shaped like a shepherd's crook. A bishop or church head bears this staff as "shepherd of the flock of God" the community under his canonical jurisdiction, but any bishop, whether or not assigned to a functional diocese, may use a crosier when conferring sacraments and presiding at liturgies; the Catholic Caeremoniale Episcoporum says that, as a sign of his pastoral function, a bishop uses a crosier within his territory, but any bishop celebrating the liturgy solemnly with the consent of the local bishop may use it. It adds that, when several bishops join in a single celebration, only the one presiding uses a crosier.
A bishop holds his crosier with his left hand, leaving his right hand free to bestow blessings. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum states that the bishop holds the crosier with the open side of the crook forward, or towards the people, it states that a bishop holds the crosier during a procession and when listening to the reading of the Gospel, giving a homily, accepting vows, solemn promises or a profession of faith, when blessing people, unless he must lay his hands on them. When the bishop is not holding the crosier, it is put in the care of an altar server, known as the "crosier bearer", who may wear around his shoulders a shawl-like veil called a vimpa, so as to hold the crosier without touching it with his bare hands. Another altar server wearing a vimpa, holds the mitre when the bishop is not wearing it. In the Anglican tradition, the crosier may be carried by someone else walking before the bishop in a procession; the crosier is conferred upon a bishop during his ordination to the episcopacy.
It is presented to an abbot at his blessing, an ancient custom symbolizing his shepherding of the monastic community. Although there is no provision for the presentation of a crosier in th
Four Marks of the Church
The Four Marks of the Church known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: " in one, holy and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed Churches. While many doctrines, based on both tradition and different interpretations of the Bible, distinguish one denomination from another explaining why there are so many different ones, the Four Marks, when defined the same way, represent a summary of what many clerical authorities have considered to be the most important affirmations of the Christian faith.
The ideas behind the Four Marks have been in the Christian Church since early Christianity. Allusions to them can be found in the writings of 2nd century early Church Father and bishop Ignatius of Antioch, they were not established in doctrine until the First Council of Constantinople in 381 as an antidote to certain heresies that had crept into the Church in its early history. There the Council elaborated on the Nicene Creed, established by the First Council of Nicea 56 years before by adding to the end a section that included the affirmation: " in one, holy and apostolic Church." The phrase has remained in versions of the Nicene Creed to this day. In some languages, for example, the Latin "catholica" was substituted by "Christian" before the Reformation, though this was an anomaly and continues in use by some Protestant churches today. Hence, "holy catholic" becomes "holy Christian."Roman Catholics believe the description "one, holy and apostolic Church" to be applicable only to the Roman Catholic Church.
They hold that "Christ established here on earth only one Church" and they believe in "the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church". While "there are numerous elements of sanctification and of truth which are found outside her structure", these, "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity"; the eastern Churches not in full communion with the Catholic Church thereby "lack something in their condition as particular Churches". The communities born out of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation "do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, are, deprived of a constituent element of the Church."The Eastern Orthodox Church, in disagreement with the Roman Catholic, regards itself as the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and his apostles. The Oriental Orthodox Church disagrees with both and claims to be the historical and organic continuation of the original Church founded by Christ and his apostles, the "One, Holy and Apostolic" Church of the ancient Christian creeds and the only Church that has always kept the true Christology and faith declared by the first three councils, Nicaea and Ephesus affirmed by the Church Fathers and the Holy Tradition.
The Augsburg Confession found within the Book of Concord, a compendium of belief of the Lutheran Churches, teaches that "the faith as confessed by Luther and his followers is nothing new, but the true catholic faith, that their churches represent the true catholic or universal church." When the Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, they believe to have "showed that each article of faith and practice was true first of all to Holy Scripture, also to the teaching of the church fathers and the councils." As such, the Lutheran Churches traditionally hold. "There is one body and one Spirit just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, over all and through all and in all." This list in the Pauline letters of factors making Christians one body, one church, is doubtless not meant to be exhaustive, says Francis Aloysius Sullivan, but it affirms the oneness of the body, the church, through what Christians have in common, what they have communion in.
Elsewhere, Paul the Apostle says: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus". This statement was about Christians as individuals, but it applied to them as groups, as local churches, whether composed of Jewish or Gentile Christians. In 1 Cor. 15:9, Paul spoke of himself as having persecuted "the church of God", not just the local church in Jerusalem but the same church that he addresses at the beginning of that letter as "the church of God, in Corinth". In the same letter, he tells Christians: "You are the body of Christ and individually members of it", declares that, "just as the body is one and has many members, all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ"; the word holy means set apart for a special purpose for God. Christians understand the holiness of the universal Church to derive from Christ's holiness; the word "catholic" is derived from the Greek adjective καθολικός, meaning "general", "universal".
It is associated with the Greek adverb καθόλου, meaning "according to the whole", "entirely", or "in general", a combination of the preposition κατά meaning "according to" and the adjective ὅ
Pope Anacletus known as Cletus, was the third Bishop of Rome, following Saint Peter and Pope Linus. Anacletus served as pope between c. 79 and his death, c. 92. Cletus was a Roman, who during his tenure as Pope, is known to have ordained a number of priests and is traditionally credited with setting up about twenty-five parishes in Rome. Although the precise dates of his pontificate are uncertain, he "...died a martyr about 91". Cletus is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the mass; the name "Cletus" in Ancient Greek means "one, called," and "Anacletus" means "one, called back." "Anencletus" means "unimpeachable." The Roman Martyrology mentions the Pope in question only under the name of "Cletus." The Annuario Pontificio gives both forms as alternatives. Eusebius, Saint Irenaeus, Saint Augustine and Optatus all suggest that both names refer to the same individual. St. Cletus/Anacletus was traditionally understood to have been a Roman who served as pope for twelve years; the Annuario Pontificio states, "For the first two centuries, the dates of the start and the end of the pontificate are uncertain."
It gives the years 80 to 92 as the reign of Pope Cletus/Anacletus. Other sources give the years 77 to 88. According to tradition, Pope Anacletus divided Rome into twenty-five parishes. One of the few surviving records concerning his papacy mentions him as having ordained an uncertain number of priests, he died and was buried next to his predecessor, Saint Linus, near the grave of St. Peter's, in what is now Vatican City, his name is included in the Roman Canon of the Mass. The Tridentine Calendar reserved 26 April as the feast day of Saint Cletus, who the church honoured jointly with Saint Marcellinus, 13 July for Saint Anacletus. In 1960, Pope John XXIII, while keeping the 26 April feast, which mentions the saint under the name given to him in the Canon of the Mass, removed 13 July as a feast day for Saint Anacletus; the 14 February 1961 Instruction of the Congregation for Rites on the application to local calendars of Pope John XXIII's motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of 25 July 1960, decreed that "the feast of'Saint Anacletus,' on whatever ground and in whatever grade it is celebrated, is transferred to 26 April, under its right name,'Saint Cletus.'"
Use of this calendar, included in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, continues to be authorized under the conditions indicated in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. Although the day of his death is unknown, Saint Cletus continues to be listed in the Roman Martyrology among the saints of 26 April. List of popes Donald Attwater and Catherine Rachel John, The Penguin Dictionary of Saints, 3rd edition, New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-14-051312-4. Louise Ropes Loomis, The Book of Popes. Merchantville, NJ: Evolution Publishing. ISBN 1-889758-86-8 (Reprint of the 1916 edition.. Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes. ISBN 0-06-065304-3 Writings attributed to Pope Anacletus/Cletus The Society of Pope Saint Anacletus, an Independent Catholic association in the United States
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from the city of Rome; the Roman Empire was ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and Ravenna, an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Roman Senate sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople; the fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages. The previous Republic, which had replaced Rome's monarchy in the 6th century BC, became destabilized in a series of civil wars and political conflict.
In the mid-1st century BC Julius Caesar was appointed as perpetual dictator and assassinated in 44 BC. Civil wars and proscriptions continued, culminating in the victory of Octavian, Caesar's adopted son, over Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC; the following year Octavian conquered Ptolemaic Egypt, ending the Hellenistic period that had begun with the conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon in the 4th century BC. Octavian's power was unassailable and in 27 BC the Roman Senate formally granted him overarching power and the new title Augustus making him the first emperor; the first two centuries of the Empire were a period of unprecedented stability and prosperity known as the Pax Romana. It reached its greatest territorial expanse during the reign of Trajan. A period of increasing trouble and decline began with the reign of Commodus. In the 3rd century, the Empire underwent a crisis that threatened its existence, but was reunified under Aurelian. In an effort to stabilize the Empire, Diocletian set up two different imperial courts in the Greek East and Latin West.
Christians rose to power in the 4th century following the Edict of Milan in 313 and the Edict of Thessalonica in 380. Shortly after, the Migration Period involving large invasions by Germanic peoples and the Huns of Attila led to the decline of the Western Roman Empire. With the fall of Ravenna to the Germanic Herulians and the deposition of Romulus Augustulus in 476 AD by Odoacer, the Western Roman Empire collapsed and it was formally abolished by emperor Zeno in 480 AD; the Eastern Roman Empire, known in the post-Roman West as the Byzantine Empire, collapsed when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks of Mehmed II in 1453. Due to the Roman Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, architecture, philosophy and forms of government in the territory it governed Europe; the Latin language of the Romans evolved into the Romance languages of the medieval and modern world, while Medieval Greek became the language of the Eastern Roman Empire.
Its adoption of Christianity led to the formation of Christendom during the Middle Ages. Greek and Roman art had a profound impact on the late medieval Italian Renaissance, while Rome's republican institutions influenced the political development of republics such as the United States and France; the corpus of Roman law has its descendants in many legal systems of the world today, such as the Napoleonic Code. Rome's architectural tradition served as the basis for Neoclassical architecture. Rome had begun expanding shortly after the founding of the republic in the 6th century BC, though it did not expand outside the Italian peninsula until the 3rd century BC, it was an "empire" long before it had an emperor. The Roman Republic was not a nation-state in the modern sense, but a network of towns left to rule themselves and provinces administered by military commanders, it was ruled, not by annually elected magistrates in conjunction with the senate. For various reasons, the 1st century BC was a time of political and military upheaval, which led to rule by emperors.
The consuls' military power rested in the Roman legal concept of imperium, which means "command". Successful consuls were given the honorary title imperator, this is the origin of the word emperor since this title was always bestowed to the early emperors upon their accession. Rome suffered a long series of internal conflicts and civil wars from the late second century BC onward, while extending its power beyond Italy; this was the period of the Crisis of the Roman Republic. Towards the end of this era, in 44 BC, Julius Caesar was perpetual dictator before being assassinated; the faction of his assassins was driven from Rome and defeated at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC by an army led by Mark Antony and Caesar's adopted son Octavian. Antony and Octavian's division of the Roman world between themselves did not last and Octavian's forces defeated those of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, ending the Final War of the Roman Republic. In 27 BC the Senate and People of Rome made Octavian princeps ("first citi
A papal name or pontificial name is the regnal name taken by a pope. Both the head of the Catholic Church known as the Pope, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria choose papal names; as of 2013, Pope Francis is the Catholic Pope, Tawadros II or Theodoros II is the Coptic Pope. This article lists the names of Catholic Popes. While popes in the early centuries retained their birth names after their accession to the papacy on popes began to adopt a new name upon their accession; this first became customary in the 10th century. Since 1555, every pope has taken a papal name; the pontificial name is given in Latin by virtue of the Pope's status as Bishop of the Holy See of Rome. The Pope is given an Italian name by virtue of his Vatican citizenship. However, it is customary when referring to popes to translate the regnal name into all local languages. Thus, for example, Papa Franciscus, is Papa Francesco in Italian, Papa Francisco in his native Spanish, Pope Francis in English; the official style of the Catholic Pope in English is His Holiness Pope.
Holy Father is another honorific used for popes. The full title used, of the Catholic Pope in English is: His Holiness, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God; the official title of the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of all Africa on the Holy See of St. Mark the Apostle; the Successor of St. Mark the Evangelist, Holy Apostle and Martyr, on the Holy Apostolic Throne of the Great City of Alexandria, he is considered to be Father of Fathers. Shepherd of Shepherds. Hierarch of all HierarchsHonorary titles attributed to the Hierarch of the Alexandrine Throne are The Pillar and Defender of the Holy, Apostolic Church and of the Orthodox Faith; the Dean of the Great Catechetical School of Theology of Alexandria. The Ecumenical Judge of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church.
The Thirteenth among the Holy Apostles. During the first centuries of the church, the bishops of Rome continued to use their baptismal names after their elections; the custom of choosing a new name began in AD 533: Mercurius deemed it inappropriate for a pope to be named after the pagan Roman god Mercury, adopted the name John II in honor of his predecessor John I, venerated as a martyr. In the 10th century clerics from beyond the Alps Germany and France, acceded to the papacy and replaced their foreign-sounding names with more traditional ones; the last pope to use his baptismal name was Marcellus II in 1555, a choice, then quite exceptional. Names are chosen by popes, not based on any system. Names of immediate or distant predecessors, saints, or family members—as was the case with John XXIII—have been adopted. In 1978 Cardinal Albino Luciani became the first pope to take a double name, John Paul I, to honour his two immediate predecessors, John XXIII and Paul VI. John Paul I was the first pope in 1,100 years since Lando in 913 to adopt a papal name that had not been used.
After John Paul I's sudden death a month Cardinal Karol Józef Wojtyła was elected and, wishing to continue his predecessor's work, became the second Pope to take a double name as John Paul II. In 2013, a new name was introduced into the lineage: on being elected Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio selected the name Francis to emphasize the spirit of poverty and peace embodied by Saint Francis of Assisi; the new pontiff's choice of name upon being elected to the papacy is seen as a signal to the world of who the new pope will emulate, what policies he will seek to enact, or the length of his reign. Such was the case with Benedict XVI – it was speculated that he chose the name because he wished to emulate Benedict XV, to call attention to the fact that at 7.5 years, Benedict XV's reign was short. Benedict XVI's own reign, which ended with his resignation on 28 February 2013 lasted less than 8 years. Saint Peter was the first Pope. Since the 1970s some antipopes, with only a minuscule following, took the name Pope Peter II.
Because of the controversial fifteenth-century antipope known as Pope John XXIII, this name was avoided for over 500 years until the election in 1958 of Pope John XXIII. After John XXIII's election as pope in 1958, it was not known if he would be John XXIII or XXIV; the number used by an antipope is ignored if possible, but this is not possible if, by the time someone is reckoned as antipope, the name has since been used by one or more legitimate popes. After a new pope is elected, accepts the election, he is asked in Latin "By what name shall you be called?"† The new pope chooses the name by which he will be known from that point on. The senior Cardinal Deacon, or Cardinal Protodeacon appears on the balcony of Saint Peter's to proclaim the new pope by his birth name, announce his papal name: †Unless impeded, the Dean of the College of Cardinals asks the newly elected po
A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal renunciation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, there are disputed claims of four popes having resigned, dating from the 3rd to the 11th centuries. Additionally, a few popes during the saeculum obscurum were "deposed", meaning driven from office by force; the history and canonical question here is complicated. The development of canon law has been in favor of papal supremacy, leaving no recourse to the removal of a pope involuntarily; the most recent pope to resign was Benedict XVI, who vacated the Holy See on 28 February 2013 at 19:00 UTC. He was the first pope to do so since Gregory XII in 1415. Despite its common usage in discussion of papal renunciations, the term abdication is not used in the official documents of the church for renunciation by a pope.
In the Catholic Church, in the Latin Rite, the official laws on all matters are codified in the Latin edition of the 1983 Code of Canon Law which regulates papal renunciations in Canon 332 §2, where it states:Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur. Which in English, would be:If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone; this corresponds to Canon 221 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, which in Latin is: Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex renuntiet, ad eiusdem renuntiationis validitatem non est necessaria Cardinalium aliorumve acceptatio. And in English, would be:If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is not required for validity that the resignation is accepted by the Cardinals or by anyone else. Both the 1983 Code and the 1917 Code make explicit that there is no particular individual or body of people to whom the pope must manifest his renunciation.
This addresses a concern raised in earlier centuries by 18th-century canonist Lucius Ferraris, who held that the College of Cardinals or at least its Dean must be informed, since the cardinals must be certain that the pope has renounced the dignity before they can validly proceed to elect a successor. In 1996, Pope John Paul II, in his Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis, anticipated the possibility of resignation when he specified that the procedures he set out in that document should be observed "even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff"; the Catholic Encyclopedia notes the obscure renunciations of Pontian and Marcellinus, the postulated renunciation of Liberius, that one catalogue of popes lists John XVIII as resigning office in 1009 and finishing his life as a monk. During the saeculum obscurum several popes were "deposed" or coerced into renunciation by political and military force. John X is considered to have been deposed by some, but he seems to have died in prison before his successor Leo VI was elected anyway.
As another example, consider the story of John XII, Leo VIII, Benedict V. John XII had been invalidly deposed by the Emperor Otto in 963. Leo VIII was set up as an antipope by Otto at this time. However, John XII won back his rightful place in 964; when John XII died in 964, Benedict V was elected. However, Otto wanted Leo VIII put back on the papal throne and, using military might, forced Benedict to abdicate that same summer. Leo VIII is considered the legitimate pope until his death in 965, thus having been both an antipope and a valid pope. Benedict V never again attempted to claim the papacy, did not contest the election of John XIII after Leo VIII, so his abdication is considered valid though some treated him as the valid pope until his death; the first unquestionable papal renunciation is that of Benedict IX in 1045. Benedict had previously been deposed by Sylvester III in 1044, though he returned to take up the office again the next year, the Vatican considers Sylvester III to have been a legitimate pope in the intervening months.
In 1045, having regained the papacy for a few months, in order to rid the church of the scandalous Benedict, Gregory VI gave Benedict "valuable possessions" to resign the papacy in his favour. Gregory himself resigned in 1046 because the arrangement he had entered into with Benedict could have been considered simony. Gregory was followed by Clement II, when Clement died, Benedict IX returned to be elected to the papacy for a third time, only to resign yet again before dying in a monastery, he thus reigned as pope for three non-consecutive terms, resigned three separate times. A well-known renunciation of a pope is that of Celestine V, in 1294. After only five months of pontificate, he issued a solemn decree declaring it permissible for a pope to resign, did so himself, he lived two more years as a hermit and priso
Bishops of Rome under Constantine I
Constantine I's relationship with the four Bishops of Rome during his reign is an important component of the history of the Papacy, more the history of the Catholic Church. The legend surrounding Constantine I's victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge relates his vision of the Chi Rho and the text in hoc signo vinces in the sky and his reproducing this symbol on the shields of his troops; the following year Constantine and Licinius proclaimed the toleration of Christianity with the Edict of Milan, in 325 Constantine convened and presided over the First Council of Nicaea, the first ecumenical council. None of this, has much to do with the popes, who did not attend the Council. Moreover, between 324 and 330, he built Constantinople as a new capital for the empire, and—with no apologies to the Roman community of Christians—relocated key Roman families and translated many Christian relics to the new churches; the Donation of Constantine, an 8th-century forgery used to enhance the prestige and authority of popes, places the pope more centrally in the narrative of Constantinian Christianity.
The legend of the Donation claims that Constantine offered his crown to Sylvester I, that Sylvester baptized Constantine. In reality, Constantine was baptized by Eusebius of Nicomedia, unlike the pope, was an Arian bishop. Sylvester was succeeded by Julius I during the life of Constantine. Although the "Donation" never occurred, Constantine did hand over the Lateran Palace to the bishop of Rome, begin the construction of Old Saint Peter's Basilica; the gift of the Lateran occurred during the reign of Miltiades, Sylvester I's predecessor, who began using it as his residence. Old St. Peter's was begun between 326 and 330 and would have taken three decades to complete, long after the death of Constantine. Constantine's legalization of Christianity, combined with the donation of these properties, gave the bishop of Rome an unprecedented level of temporal power, for the first time creating an incentive for secular leaders to interfere with papal succession. In spite of the Diocletian Persecution, Christians constituted one-tenth of the population of the Roman Empire at the time of Constantine's rise to power.
Christianity was legalized by Galerius, the first emperor to issue an edict of toleration for all religious creeds including Christianity in April 311. Eamon Duffy characterizes the church in Rome before Constantine as "not one congregation, but a loose constellation of churches based in private houses or, as time went on and the community grew, meeting in rented halls in markets and public baths, it was without any single dominant ruling officer, its elders or leaders sharing responsibility, but distributing tasks, like that of foreign correspondent. By the eve of the conversion of Constantine, there were more than two dozen of these religious community-centers or tituli"; the Roman church was a small community, its bishop exercised little influence outside its members in the time of Constantine. Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to embrace Christianity, although he continued in his pre-Christian beliefs, he and co-Emperor Licinius bestowed imperial favor on Christianity through the Edict of Milan promulgated in 313.
After the Edict of Milan, the church adopted the same governmental structure as the Empire: geographical provinces ruled by bishops. These bishops of important cities therefore rose in power over the bishops of lesser cities. Whatever his personal beliefs, Constantine's political interest in Christianity was as a unifying force and his policy of "the imposition of unity on the churches at all costs" soon set him on a "collision course with the popes." Miltiades was pope at the time of Constantine's victory, Constantine gifted to Miltiades the Lateran Palace, where he relocated, holding a synod in 313. Constantine designated Miltiades as one of four bishops to adjudicate the case of the Donatists, but he had no authority to decide the case or publish the result without the approval of the emperor himself. Customarily, the African bishops may have gone to the bishop of Rome as a respected, neutral figure, but it was well known that Miltiades would not agree with the Donatist position that ordination by a "traitor" bishop would invalidate the sacrament.
Turning to Constantine was a strange move because he had not yet been baptized, word of his budding conversion may not yet have reached Alexandria. Constantine therefore referred the matter to Miltiades, requiring him to collaborate with three bishops from Gaul. Eamon Duffy calls this the "first direct intervention by an emperor in the affairs of the church." When Miltiades invited fifteen additional Italian bishops to participate in the synod and ruled against the Donatists, they appealed to Constantine again, who called for a new synod in Arles, this time headed by the bishops of Arles and Syracuse. Miltiades died, his successor, Sylvester I, did not travel to Arles; the Arles synod gave Silvester I somewhat of a nod by asking him to circulate their decisions to the other bishops, although he had no part in the process. During Silvester I's reign, construction began on the Lateran Basilica, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, St. Peter's. Silvester did not attend the first ecumenical council, the First Council of Nicaea, but sent two priests as his representatives.
Silvester would have viewed Arianism as a heresy.